November 9, 2020
Dear Residents and Staff, Families and Friends,
As Clare Oaks’ new executive director, effective today, I want to reassure you that I will carry forward the wonderful culture of acting with care to ensure the well-being of everyone who is part of our community. I have a great admiration for how Clare Oaks staff members and residents have succeeded in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
We have no new cases of the virus to report since Friday, October 30, but can report that three staff members—who work in administration, housekeeping, and nursing in the healthcare and assisted living areas of our community and tested had positive last month—returned to work on Friday, November 6, in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Record-breaking number of cases across Illinois
This afternoon, Governor JB Pritzker announced there have been 10,573 new cases of COVID-19, making Monday the fourth consecutive day the number of new cases exceeds 10,000. He further stated that Illinois’ seven-day positivity rate rose to 11.4 percent, up from 10.6 percent on Sunday.
Yesterday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported a positivity rate of 11.6 percent for suburban Cook County, called Region 10, where Clare Oaks is located. This rate far surpasses the threshold of an eight percent positivity rate for initiating restrictions.
To do our best to abate the spread of the virus among Clare Oaks residents and employees, we may ask you to quickly adjust your daily routines. At this time, we have not received any additional guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing care residents.
Precautions to protect everyone
Even though there are no new cases reported here since October 30, we continue to follow these restrictions for residents in our Healthcare Center:
- All visits are conducted virtually and can be scheduled in the same manner as the on-site visits that we could previously offer
- All residents will be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis
- All activities, communal dining and the beauty salon are not available at this time.
While IDPH guidelines do not apply directly to Independent Living residents, we encourage everyone to exercise caution when getting together—even for a brief time or simply passing each other in a hallway.
Residents are expected to observe these current protocols for our campus:
- No visitors are allowed into the building.
- Meals are provided on a carryout basis only.
- The beauty salon will remain open with special screening protocols.
- Group activities are suspended, including Mass, Communion and exercise classes.
- BINGO is available on the phone line.
- Only leave Clare Oaks’ campus only for essential trips and, when possible, plan telehealth visits.
Clare Oaks continues to adhere to all guidelines
At Clare Oaks, we remain committed to following all protocols and practices prescribed by our local and state health departments as well as the CDC and CMS to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- All healthcare staff members wear KN95 masks and gloves.
- Healthcare staff members wear N95 masks, gloves, gowns and face shields when caring for newly admitted residents who are quarantined and those who have tested positive for the virus.
- We continue to screen employees when they start each shift and during each shift.
- Staff members are tested for COVID-19 based on guidelines from IDPH and CMS.
- Our housekeeping team remains steadfast in frequently disinfecting our campus following IDPH and CDC guidelines.
- We closely monitor all residents in Assisi Health Care Center to detect signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- We continue to educate residents in Independent Living about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and have instructed them to report to staff if they are experiencing any of those symptoms.
We urge everyone to follow the guidelines of IDPH and the CDC so residents
- Participate in our weekly testing protocol for all Healthcare residents
- Wear a mask in all common areas and while interacting with each other.
- Observe six-foot social distancing at all gatherings, including outdoor events, and individual encounters when walking in hallways and delivering mail and packages to a neighbor.
- Practice hand-hygiene throughout the day.
We encourage Independent Living residents to be watchful for symptoms of the virus and to take a test if they experience any symptoms or learn they may have been exposed to someone who tests positive.
In addition to these , our staff members follow a regime including
- Screening at the beginning of and during each shift.
- Wearing appropriate PPE, when necessary.
- Monitoring for clinical changes regarding COVID-19 symptoms all assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care residents and responding to questions about the virus from independent living residents who monitor themselves.
- Maintaining a clean, disinfected community.
While it is not in use now, Clare Oaks maintains our COVID-19 isolation unit and monitors our inventory of PPE in case a resident needs this support.
We again will conduct mandatory weekly testing for all employees on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 10 and 11, and for all healthcare residents on Thursday, November 12.
Thank you for doing your part,